There are numerous benefits moving from a traditional to a performance-based asset management and maintenance strategy for your data center infrastructure. From lower cost of ownership to integrated service and maintenance processes – by implementing a performance-based maintenance strategy you can do more with less and drive improvements in operational efficiencies.


Establish baseline performance and process metrics

The first step in establishing a performance-based asset management strategy is identifying and setting baseline metrics. This is a crucial, but often overlooked step that will help you understand detailed aspects of your facility’s power and cooling systems, establish a point of reference for normal operations, identify improvement opportunities, highlight alert/alarm thresholds, and set goals. These baselines allow you to clearly understand and compare the “before” and “after” states to better measure the financial and efficiency benefits. By establishing baselines upfront you will be able to measure changes in performance that could indicate a potential failure or possible risk and maximize uptime.


In addition, establishing process metrics will help you to evaluate operational procedures and forecast expenses. Without clear and accurate operational procedures and baseline metrics, you cannot possibly ensure the infrastructure is performing to the intended specifications. Especially during the implementation phase, changes are often made to the original design, for this or that reason. These changes may impact the operations and the baseline performance metrics. Therefore, not only must the process documentation be updated, but the baseline values reevaluated and adjusted as needed.

Data collection and monitoring

After you establish baseline metrics, you should formulate a monitoring plan. Obviously, to make performance-based decisions – you first must have the data. Fortunately, with the proliferation of sensors, information is often already being collected from nearly every asset in a facility, monitoring everything from power to moisture to temperature. Today, sensor data is used primarily to sound alarms, yet storing and reviewing data post-collection throughout an asset’s lifecycle can reveal valuable insights. Recording and keeping all data generates a comprehensive view of an asset that can help facilities ensure uptime by predicting and preventing equipment failures before they happen.


Analytics and insights

Facility managers should evaluate the data respective to each monitored component on a daily or weekly basis. This evaluation includes the discreet data from each particular download, as well as a historical analysis to identify and predict problematic systems by evaluating, trending, and comparing their performance measurements to their own historical measurements. By comparing the data collected to the baseline metrics over time, you can determine whether a corrective maintenance is needed now or if it can be integrated into a scheduled preventative maintenance visit.


Analyze data with the proper context 

In order to identify problems before it is too late, data must be analyzed with proper logic, perspective, and context (measurement relationships, historical comparables, change versus baseline, etc.). This context enables the development of trending heuristics, defines the typical impacts of various metrics and helps with the identification of anomalies which require further investigation. From there, a predictive model can be created that takes into account all relevant information. By constantly reading, recording and analyzing performance data, a facility manager can identify rising or falling trends that indicate impending problems, as well as identify assets that are reaching end of life.


Preventative maintenance and testing

Most, if not all infrastructure systems need a defined preventative maintenance program. This program should include periodic visual inspections, adjustment, as well as performance testing and analysis.  This is inescapable. The goal of a performance-based asset management program is to ensure maintenance is more informed and handled on an as-needed basis, not just based on the passage of time. Maintenance is performed when necessary, neither too late nor too soon which reduces risk exposure and cost.


Conclusion

By implementing a performance-based asset management program you can do more with less, make improvements in operational efficiencies and increase reliability. Performance-based asset Management is a two-prong approach of prognostic monitoring and proactive maintenance. Systemic monitoring, storing historical data and regularly analyzing the health of your critical infrastructure, both as a system and at the component level, allows you to effectively plan maintenance and expenses.